Essays and Appreciations in Honor of Michael J. Colacurcio’s 50 Years of Teaching
Puritan Riffs: The Jazz Aesthetic in Michael J. Colacurcio’s Pedagogy
When I first learned that Michael Colacurcio loved the music of the five-saxophone jazz group Supersax, the discovery made perfect sense. After all, his words in class unspooled like brilliant jazz solos, seemingly spontaneous yet perfectly crafted; his sentences darted, circled, and probed around mysteries of truth and beauty, driven by a uniquely personal rhythmic propulsion; and he spoke in a distinctive voice that employed the full range of tones, registers, and pitches. To listen to Professor Colacurcio was to hear all at once Lester Young’s unconventional phrasing, Ben Webster’s enveloping warmth, Charlie Parker’s rapid-fire inventiveness, Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s irreverent humor, and John Coltrane’s spiritual searching. He was a quintet unto himself.
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